and euro liquidity, she explains. Even at the most critical point of the financial and liquidity crisis, these clients maintained their full support for BNP Paribas. Second, the relationships with financial institutions have been central in our deleveraging plan, given their strong liquidity and appetite for regional exposure, both to financial institutions and corporate/project finance. In addition to the volume, the loans sold in the region in the final quarter of 2011 attracted some of the highest prices globally and tightest discounts. FIG clients in the region are more than ever regarded as key clients for BNP Paribas as the Bank evolves toward an originate-to-distribute model, which can only benefit from this major investor base.

Official Institutions Clients (OIC) is a sub-division of FIG and was set up in 2009. It is in charge of relations with central banks and sovereign wealth funds, which, given the importance of these funds in the Gulf, gives it considerable importance. The unit is comprised of a team that operates under the management of Salman Al Khalifa. The objective of the creation of OIC was to offer central banks and sovereign wealth funds the expertise of the various BNP Paribas global business lines, including investment and asset management (BNP Paribas Investment Partners), securities custodianship (BNP Paribas Securities Services), purchase of debt securities (Fixed Income) and strategic investment opportunities (Corporate Finance).

VĂ©ronique Ormezzano, Head of Official Institutions Clients in Paris, is confident about how the business is developing. Here in the Gulf, we have excellent credentials, firstly because BNP Paribas has been in the region for a long time and also because we re seen as a financially solid bank, she explains. Our clients know that we can help them implement their investment policies. Thanks to our leading position in Europe, we re also in a position to offer opportunities to invest in European companies that are seeking to increase their capital base. Our task is basically to draw on the full range of BNP Paribas resources in order to serve our Gulf sovereign fund clients in Europe, including our real estate and infrastructure investment expertise; in Asia, with our Equity Asia platform and also our involvement in the internationalisation process of the Chinese currency, the renminbi; plus of course the United States, as the dollar remains the key currency in the Gulf. The Gulf sovereign funds are global players, and it s up to us to provide a global service.

Investment Banking Corporate Client Relationships

As part of the Bank s long-term commitment to the region, it recognised the need to develop specialist relationship teams to support the developing needs of clients. Invest- ment Banking Corporate Client Relationships works closely with Global Gulf and African companies on a range of growth and financing options supporting their strategy. It is a key part of the Group s long-term commitment to the region.

As the region and the companies based here have transformed and expanded, the team has developed to ensure it is able to support clients, wherever they are based in the region, and now covers a wide territory including but not limited to, the GCC, Jordan and wider African countries.

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